Turkey Rings- Another Adventure in Publishing

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Star Child Bound GalleysMy publisher and editor, Jan Pogue posted this funny sneak preview of Star Child

in her Vineyard Stories site. I got a real chuckle out of it and began musing about whether the "turkey rings", which looked like body piercings on the book jacket, should also have jewels on them.  Jan, as you can see from her writing is a very resourceful member of the team. 


I want to tell you about a new book I’m publishing in July. But first, I want to tell you about turkey rings.

If you’re like me, you’ve never ever heard of turkey rings. And when you hear about them, you immediately conjure up some pretty terrible images.

Not true for Chris Decker at Tisbury Printers.

My new book is one called Star Child, coming out in August, and written by a part time Chilmark resident named Kay Goldstein. This book is a departure for me – it’s fiction, and it’s not really an Island book.

The book was something of a departure for Kay, too. Kay had written and published a cookbook years ago, and she’s a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. But Star Child had nothing to do with either one of those things.

It had come to her fifteen years earlier after she took a class with Nancy Aronie at her Chilmark Writing Workshop.

It’s a very spiritual book about two “star children” who come from space to live on earth and encounter many wonderful and terrible things. It’s pretty good, and, as you can see, it has a killer cover.

But that has nothing to do with turkey rings.

A lot of my books are published specifically to sell to the Vineyard, Cape Cod, and Nantucket. When I get one that I think will have “legs” off Island, I begin to hope maybe one of the big book reviewing entities like Publisher's Weekly will consider reviewing it.

When I do that,I ask printers for something called “F&Gs”, which means folded and gathered. F&Gs is the book come straight from a printer in an unbound form. They may have a cover or a jacket, but they’re all in pieces and quite a mess if you try to read them.

Publishers’ Weekly wants to see a book four months before it appears on the shelves. Small publishers like me can’t afford to have special galleys printed, so we rely on F&Gs.

Except, of course, that you can’t send F&Gs to reviewers since they fall apart.

And this is where the turkey rings come in.

Chris Decker was willing to punch two holes through this 96-page book. We just had to figure out how to hold it together.

Chris told me to drive to SBS and get turkey rings. (Now, I’ll tell you what they’re for: to bind the legs of turkeys for transport. How Chris, who grew up in Minnesota and moved to California at 15, knew about turkey rings, I’m not sure.)

Sadly, SBS had no turkey rings. The woman at the counter didn’t even know what turkey rings were, which may signal a grave and dangerous change on the Island. She did have plant wire and some burlap string, but I couldn’t imagine sending a book out just tied with string.

So, sadly, I left the non-land of turkey rings.

Miraculously, it occurred to me that perhaps Educomp would have book rings.

Which they did.

Chris punched the holes, I put on the book rings, and those review copies go out Monday.

Another little moment of life on the Vineyard for a small publisher with big plans.


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